Clarksburg neighbors bear brunt of holiday shopping traffic

CLARKSBURG, Md. — Neighbors are taking it in stride as streets outside their homes are lined with Black Friday shoppers flocking to a new outlet mall.

“We saw there was at least a 3-mile backup on I-270 trying to get to the Clarksburg outlets,” said Steven Kramer who decided it was the day to buy a new pair of shoes.

He is one of dozens who parked in the nearby Cabin Branch town home neighborhood that sits just across the street from the Clarksburg Premium Outlets, after drivers were turned away from the mall parking, with every space taken.

“We expected it to be crazy,” said Patricia Torres who lives down Route 121, which was backed up for miles Friday morning with eager holiday shoppers.

She said there had been traffic issues even before the crush of holiday shoppers.

Those issues arose after the outlet’s grand opening last month when traffic flooded the area, forcing some residents to put orange cones in their driveways so shoppers wouldn’t use them to turn around, she said.

Shopper Denise Zedlar recalled a 14-mile backup to get to the outlets that late October weekend.

The mall’s property manager has been planning for Black Friday crowds for a while.

“We’ve been working for months and months before we even opened the mall anticipating the challenges that might be ahead of us,” said outlet property manager Michael Mitchroney.

Simon Properties, which owns the 400,000-square-foot center, has worked with local leaders to mitigate traffic concerns and prevent overflow shoppers from parking in the neighborhood, but on Friday there was no traffic enforcement in the nearby neighborhoods.

There’s a clear ‘no outlet parking’ sign as you enter Cabin Branch neighborhood, which many drivers seemed to disregard.

Resident Nikhil Rao said outlet parking is normally quiet.

“We just roam around the neighborhood to see if any of the outlet parking comes so we can complain to housing,” Rao said.

He explained residents expected a bit of a problem on the biggest shopping day of the year.


Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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